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Grant number like: MN-263900-19

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Emerson College (Boston, MA 02116-4624)
Marc Fields (Project Director: June 2018 to May 2022)

Digital Projects for the Public: Production Grants
Public Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$100,000 (approved)
$99,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2019 – 4/30/2021

The Banjo Project: Stories of America's Instrument

Production of a website on the history and legacy of banjo music.

“Music is like the front porch of a culture,” said Harry Belafonte. “It is often where people first look and see each other.” Brought to the New World by enslaved Africans, the banjo is the product of three centuries of cultural exchanges and appropriations. If the banjo is America’s front porch instrument, then The Banjo Project: Stories of America’s Instrument is our 21st century front porch. Built on a searchable archive of over 300 hours of original media, The Banjo Project is a digital museum devoted to the instrument’s rich history, combining interactive documentary, research and curated content. It will also serve as the hub for a consortium of partner institutions, with portals to showcase related content and digital collections. When the diverse styles and purveyors of banjo music are placed in their historical context, users can create a community of storytellers who will build narratives around the banjo that overcome boundaries of race, culture, class, region and gender.